The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites that about 20% of adult Americans smoke cigarettes, with a greater prevalence among men than women. Cigarette smoking still continues to be “the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths, or 1 of every 5 deaths, in the United States each year.” A report late last year showed that the smoking rate is declining in the US, but that rate of decline has slowed, leading to concerns that the government’s goal of bringing smoking rates down to 12% may not materialize. Today while there is no federal smoking ban, more than half of all states have bans on smoking in public places. But the trend is a relatively new one – in January 1995, the state of California banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces, becoming one of the first states to enact such a law. Over a relatively short period of just a few decades, the act of smoking has become associated with serious health effects in the public mind. Much of that is attributable to the convergence of many powerful forces that broke through the tobacco industry’s long standing claims that smoking is neither addictive, nor harmful to health. That story of how scientist whistleblowers, elected officials, member of the media, and lawyers used the American legal system and democratic processes to bring the powerful tobacco industry to its knees, is told in a brand new documentary called Addiction Incorporated. The film, being released this Friday in theaters across the US, features the first whistle blower, Victor De Noble, who worked as a research scientist for the largest tobacco company Philip Morris. It also features, among a cast of dozens of other key players in the battle against tobacco, Representative Henry Waxman, who led the Congressional charge against the industry, Walter Bogdanich, a New York Times Investigative Reporter who broke stories of how the industry conspired against public health, and even Steve Parrish, former General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Philip Morris.
GUESTS: Charles Evans Jr., director of Addiction Incorporated, Victor de Noble, former research scientist working with Philip Morris, who became the first whistleblower against the Tobacco industry, and was a key witness in the government’s case against the industry
Addiction Incorporated opens in theaters this Friday. In Los Angeles, it will screen at the Landmark Nuart theater, 11272 Santa Monica Bl, in West LA. Visit landmarktheaters.com for showtimes.